Which Network Was No. 1 in 2015? Almost All of Them, Apparently

Santa gave everyone a demo trophy this year

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You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town, and this year he's handing out 2015 ratings victories to seemingly everyone.

Several networks are closing out 2015 by declaring calendar year ratings wins, some in the traditional demographics, others in more creative categories. It's the TV version of "everyone gets a trophy." Here's a rundown of which networks seem to be on top in certain demos this year, according to Nielsen:  

  • NBC: The network retained its lead in adults 18-49, averaging 2.7 million in the demo in live-plus-7 this year, ahead of CBS (2.41 million), ABC (2.39) and Fox (2.2). NBC also came out on top among the broadcasts in 18-34, averaging 1.0 million in live-plus-7, ahead of ABC (948,000), Fox (915,000) and CBS (785,000).
  • CBS: Once again, it led all broadcasters this year in total viewers, with 9.5 million. NBC was second place with 7.9 million, ABC had 6.9 and Fox had 5.3.
  • ABC: Just when we seem to have exhausted the broadcast demos, ABC—the only of the big four broadcasters without an NFL package—says it is the non-sports programming leader this season in 18-34, and tied for the lead in 18-49 and 25-54.
  • USA: The network says it's on track to be the No. 1 ad-supported cable entertainment network in total viewers for the 10th year, narrowly beating out TBS.
  • TBS: It's the No. 1 basic cable network in primetime in 18-49, for the fourth year.
  • ESPN: The network is again the most-watched cable network overall.
  • Adult Swim: It's basic cable's no. 1 network in total day in 18-49, 18-34 and 18-24 for the 11th consecutive year. In primetime, it's No. 1 in 18-34.   
  • Cartoon Network: The network is now the top ad-supported network in kids 6-11. It's also No. 1 on VOD across all cable networks.
  • AMC: One of the few cable networks to rise in 18-49 this year (up 4 percent), cracking the top 5 for the first time, AMC says it is the No. 1 network in "original destination" viewing, which is the average live-plus-3 audience for all new episodes of originals over the course of a year. Its 3.92 million 18-49 viewer average even puts it ahead of the broadcast nets (CBS came in second, with 2.76).

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.